Tricky question - Bottomfeeders all dying
As I'm writing this, my latest bristlenose pleco seems to be about to die; twitching and floating around the tank listless, upside down as much as right side up.
My tank parameters;
6 neon tetras
6 fancytail male guppies
2 white skirt tetras
4 Amazon sword plants
3 Kyoto grass plants
2 large driftwood chunks
4 small driftwood chunks
Plecos and catfish are my favorite fish ever, and I've been trying to get some into my tank for a while now, but I can't seem to get them to survive anymore.
I had an albino bristlenose for about 3yrs, grew her from a baby less than an inch long, who was fine and dandy until I changed the substrate in the tank and added the plants. She ate the new sand substrate and died a few days later (evidenced by lack of poop for last few days of life, large sandy lump in stomach after death)
Ever since I lost that pleco, I have been unable to keep them alive in my tank for more than a week. My other fish all seem happy and lively - part of the reason I got the neon tetras in the first place was because they're good indicator fish... If the neons start getting sick, I know I have a problem.
I have tried albino bn plecos, regular bn plecos, panda cories, julii cories, and albino cories, and NONE of them seem to want to eat anything in my tank, none of them poop ever, and eventually they all starve to death.
I've tried feeding them algae wafers, blanched lettuce, blanched cucumber, three different blends of home-made gelatin based fish foods, and I can't ever find evidence of any of it being eaten.
When I asked about my problem at my LFS, they said "oh, it's a water quality issue, you probably have a bad testing kit" so I dropped $34 bucks on a new kit, only to get the same numbers I got with the last one!
What could be killing off all my bottom feeders, but leaving my tetras and guppies unharmed? Why arent they eating? Any help at all would be great.
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I would wonder if fish were all bought at same store? maybe try another store.
Would wonder if drip acclimation to your tank might be consideration.
Bottom dwelling fishes are often first to suffer from low oxygen which could be corrected with airstone or small sponge filter.This would help by moving water lower in oxygen from the bottom of the tank to the surface, and aid in circulation.(could run these at night in planted tank's)
Not sayin your tank has low oxygen situation ,just offering some thing's for consideration.
Temps not much higher than 78 degree's F for the cory's /bristlenose.
Weekly water changes.
I won't repeat what 1077 mentioned, but add some other ideas, starting with foods. I would forget the veggies and get fish eating prepared foods, and feed a variety of sinking foods. I find almost everything readily eats the shrimp pellets that Omega One makes (Wardley have one too), and the Nutrafin sinking tablets. Then add in an algae/kelp/spirulina based food that sinks; Omega One and Hikari make these. Feed these on consecutive days, but each day a different food. New fish should manage to find something they like. Corys usually like frozen bloodworms, but this should only be a treat once or at most twice weekly; but worth trying if other foods are refused.
How long has this issue existed? Was there anything that occurred when it started? How long ago was the substrate changed? And what specific sand?
How often are water changes, what volume, and is the substrate vacuumed? Which water conditioner? Any other products/substances going in the tank water?
How many BN were in the tank at the same time? How many corys? Were there any signs of aggression toward these by the upper fish, whether poking, actual fin nipping, or whatever?
Thanks for the quick replies!
I have a small air pump so getting an airstone in the tank is worth trying.
Have been using both omega and hikari algae wafers, will pick up some meatier sinking pellets the next time I get a bottom feeder - I think the bristlenose in the tank just moved on to fishy heaven.
I changed the substrate about 3 months ago, and that is also when these problems started. It was a coarse white sand sold as freshwater/saltwater aquarium substrate from petco (forget the exact brand name)
My heater keeps my tank steady at about 76-77 degrees
My tank schedule;
I vacuum the substrate when I do water changes, which is usually about twice a week, 20% water change. When adding new water, I use Seachem Prime to condition my tapwater.
When I had my old bristlenose, I was vacuuming every other day to clean up after her.
I have tried single bn plecos and pairs, and I bought my cories in groups of three. (I know it's a small group for them, but I didn't want to buy more until I wasn't killing every bottom feeder in there)
I cycled the tank with the skirt tetras in there, about a year or two ago, and they've been fine ever since- added the neons in two groups of three after the tank was cycled, with my first bn pleco shortly after. I've lost about 1 neon a year, but they were always the biggest ones in the school, and I bought them all as adults. The replacement neons have all settled in nicely as well.
I bought the guppies about a month ago, after the catfish massacre began - to see if they would die too, but they've been happy and heathly since they've been introduced.
I do not see any aggression between the fish -the two skirts sometimes roughhouse with each other, but leave everyone else alone. No nipped/torn fins in anyone.
The fish are from three different pet stores in my area, so I'm pretty sure the problem is in my tank,
My substrate is now a 1/2" of mixed sand and gravel.
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Just noticed something i forgot to ask about; where did the driftwood come from, a store or collected yourself? Have you noticed any type of fungus growing on it? How was it prepared?
Nothing in your reply stands out as problematic; a white substrate isnot the best for any fish, but this is not going to cause the deaths. But it isinteresting that this began with this change of substrate. Any chance you could find it online so we could see what it may contain?
Is salt or any chemical's but prime being added on regular basis?(salt and catfish/pleco's just don't work well).
How are you acclimating the fish?
Bah... Sorry for the silence... I think I accidentally turned off email alerts for thread replies.
The driftwood originally came from a pet store, but more recently was in another tank. It used to grow nice green algae my old bn could be caught grazing on lazily, but that also stopped when I added plants. I assumed it was because the plants were now eating up all the nutrients in the water that sustained the algae, because I used to get a steady growth on the glass of the tank as well, and don't now.
Also why I'm determined to find some kind of food to make my plecos survive :/
I do not use salt or any other chemicals in my tank. I am considering some seachem flourish for my plants, but would prefer to figure out what's killing my bottom feeders before I add more chemicals to the equation.
I know white sand isnt the greatest for fishy stress levels. The sand is almost entirely under a layer of dark red/purple gravel. The purple is the majority, and it's so dark it's almost black.
I couldn't find the exact brand of sand, but I know it was *not* the instant ocean kind with the marine biologicals infused.
Went to the pet store last week and picked up an airstone, a beautiful dwarf gourami that I could not resist, and another bn pleco.
My acclimation process was;
Float the bag in the tank for 15 min
Open top of bag, roll edges down into a makeshift floaty ring to keep bag afloat but separate for another 15 min.
Using 1/4 cup measuring cup, I introduce approx 1/8 cup tank water to bag, wait 30 minutes.
Repeat with another 1/8 cup, wait 30min
Repeat with 1/4 cup, wait 30-45min
Repeat with 1/4 cup/30-45 min wait until the bag is almost entirely tank water(takes most of the afternoon)
Net the fish from the bag and introduce to tank, dispose of bag and store water.
I know I should be doing this into a quarantine tank, and if I notice anything suspicious during the acclimation process I relocate my Betta into a bowl for a few weeks and the new fishy goes into his 5gal, but if the fish seems healthy, I tend to just go for it... <_<;; bad habit I know.
Anyway- this acclimation process has worked very well for me in the past, and I can say for sure the gourami is as happy as can be - his colors have brightened considerably over the past 3-4 days, and they looked great to begin with.
As for the pleco - he hasn't died yet :P
He, like all his recent predecessors, seems to have survived the acclimation process well enough. I haven't caught him eating anything yet, though. I picked up some omega shrimp pellets and some 'stick-to-the-glass' tuna wafers, but they seem to go ignored until they soften up enough for the guppies to get at them. Have tried omega algae wafers, omega shrimp pellets, hikari algae wafers, and those tetra brand tuna wafers. I catch him all over the glass at night, but there's no real algae growth there - at MOST it's the faintest hintings of the beginnings of a possible algae film. I doubt it's enough for him to live on.
He spends most of his day hiding behind the filter, heater, or one of the sword plants, but he has started to venture out in the past day or two as he settles in... But in my experience a healthy pleco is a eating and pooping MACHINE, and I haven't seen that at all, so I dunno if the airstone is doing anything yet.
I do drop his food in about an hour after lights out, and it is gone in the morning, but he's not really pooping and my guppies are getting FAT so I think the food is going into the wrong tummies.
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I have a male /female pair of longfinned albino bristlenose,and one large, old, male Bristlenose.(common)
They enjoy New life spectrum (large pellet') and vegetable matter in the form of zuchinni,fleshy side of bananna skin,sweet red bell pepper,romain lettuce,spinach leaves.
Also feed mixture of cichlid pellet's and shrimp pellet's after dark for the catfish.
Acclimation sound's good but I would add the 1/4 cup tank water at a rate of every five to eight minutes.Should not need to wait 30 to 40 minutes .
One suggeestion on the feeding after lights out...wait until it is pitch black dark. By which i mean no ambient/room lights. Fish are still active in dim light, and the guppy or other fish may well find and eat food. But in total darkness, "day" fish are at rest and the nocturnal fish will be out and about.
I have some nocturnal feeding fish that never come out in daylight, and I add their food anywhere between 2 and 4 hours after the room is in complete darkness; I need a flashlight to find my way around the room, just to point out how dark it is. My tanks are in a separate fish room, so this is easy to manage, as the tank lights go out at 6pm and the daylight (summer) or room light (winter) is out about an hour after that. With the flashlight i can see the nocturnal cats including corys scurrying about for food.
Course I wake up each day at midnight (sleep apnia).
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